November 4, 2018… Sermon recap
By: Jim Eschenbacher
Yesterday, we took communion and Pastor Drew spoke about the ritual and the value of communion. This was timely for me because I have struggled with the ritual. I love the honesty, as presented by Jesus and reiterated by Paul, but I have been a participant for over 50 years and it has become merely routine for me. This sermon was very helpful.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26… For I also delivered to you, that the lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Drew pointed out that the first thing Jesus did was “Give thanks.” That struck me… Why did Jesus give thanks? He knew this was representative of His death. At that moment I realized I was viewing communion wrongly from the physical perspective. Jesus gave thanks, not for His death, but for what God would do with it. That was my necessary attitude adjustment. Communion is not primarily physical; it is Spiritual. It is called the Lord’s supper. It is not called my supper to which Jesus is invited.
When we partake of the Lord’ Supper, we partake of Jesus’ death. God is so gracious. He allows us that participation. He could have let us experience pain and loss as our connection. I am reminded of a verse.
Colossians 1:24… Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what I lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, His Church.
This potentially difficult passage is brought to clarity by viewing the whole picture… the context. Paul was not implying that a human could add anything to the sacrifice of Jesus. That would be sacrilegious and would contradict his teaching that salvation is a free gift. What he is saying is that when he suffers, patiently and thankfully, he is finishing the work of Christ, begun on the cross. When we suffer quietly, we are appreciating what Jesus did for us, but we are not adding to it. When He said, “It is finished”, He told the Truth. We may remind others of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice. And what did Jesus say, “Do this in remembrance of me.”
Drew pointed out the 3 aspects of communion which matter but don’t necessarily cross paths.
1. Physical… The bread and the cup are physical, as is the frequency. We control, or at least contribute to, those items.
2. Mental… Don’t allow your mind to shift into neutral. Remember!
3. Spiritual… 1st. Communion is for the church, it is shared; We participate in it. We don’t just observe and draw conclusions. The word for ‘participate’ is: koinonia. It is the same root word often translated “fellowship”… Communion is fellowship with the suffering of Christ and it is not done individually; the whole body suffers together… and the whole body rejoices together. For the joy of rejoicing, even if it is future, we endure the suffering.
Now, back to our text…
1 Corinthians 11:25… In the same way also He took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the lord’s death until He comes.
Communion is a Spiritual event that is for humans on earth. Once we are in heaven with Jesus, it will cease.
As I mentioned earlier, I want to reiterate: the Lord’s Supper is a spiritual ritual. If we try to reduce it to physical impact, we miss the significance.
It is, after all, the “Lord’s Supper.”